Spare ribs are often associated with strong, show-stealing supporting flavours. 'Barbecue spare ribs', 'spicy spare ribs'... been there, got the t-shirt. Why not try a recipe for spare ribs with subtler seasonings and glazes so that the flavour of the meat can shine through?
That's exactly what this 1960s recipe achieves. These baked spareribs, rubbed with a refreshingly simple blend of garlic, juniper berries and parsley and lightly glazed with a mix of fresh orange juice, stock and white wine are gorgeous. Tender, juicy, clean flavours and still wonderfully filling.
It's one of those older recipes where a lot of information is missing, so we had to figure a few things out as we went along; including: a) how much garlic to use, b) Whether to use dried or fresh parsley (we used fresh), c) oven time. 30 minutes is specified by the cookbook, but ours needed 2hrs. It depends on the size/weight of your ribs; we went by our butchers recommendation.
The recipe also specifies that the ribs should be served with a side platter of boiled white rice, generously dressed with melted butter, parsley and chopped raw onion. Sticking to the brief, we prepared the rice while our ribs baked, as well as a little side salad for balance. The three went together beautifully. Yum 😋.
Original Recipe: 'Baked Pork Spareribs' (Book 8, 1967)
Speed: About 3 hours | Serves: 4
100ml white wine
Juice of 2 oranges
200ml beef stock
A handful of parsley
8 garlic cloves
Salt & pepper
Optional: 3-6 crushed juniper berries (depending on the size of your ribs)
1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C fan (350°F/Gas Mark 4).
2. Trim some of the fat off of the spareribs. Transfer the fat to a heavy sauté pan or casserole dish and set in the oven to melt while you prepare the ribs.
3. Crush the juniper berries (if using) and finely chop the garlic. Mix these together and rub into the pork. Pat onto the meat some parsley leaves and then grind over this some salt and pepper. Turn the ribs over and repeat on the other side.
4. When the pork fat has melted a little and is running freely, remove the solid pieces of fat and transfer the pan to the stove, set over a medium heat. Brown the ribs lightly on both sides, using the melted fat to fry with.
Note: Sprinkle some salt over the crispy bits to make pork scratchings. We snacked on ours to keep us going while our ribs baked in the oven.
5. Remove the ribs and pour to wine into the pan. Let this bubble for a minute before pouring in the stock and orange juice.
6. Return the ribs to the pan, and put in the oven to bake for as long as advised by your butcher (ours took 2 hours). Turn these over and baste with the liquid every half hour or so.
7. Serve with a platter of boiled, rice dressed with melted butter, black pepper, finely chopped raw onion and parsley.
'This dish can be made in advance and reheated for when it is needed.'
Original Recipe for 'Baked Pork Spareribs'
'BOOK 8': The Sunday Telegraph Cookery Book (1967)
By: Jean Robertson for The Sunday Telegraph
Publisher: Collins for The Cookery Book Club (9 Grape Street, London, W.C.2, England, U.K.)